7 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Wellness Program

Posted by Matt Schwartz on Fri, Mar 6, 2020 @ 11:03 AM


If you examine a successful wellness program, you’ll find that a number of positive factors go into making it work. If you think you’re ready to implement such a program at your organization, perhaps it would be a good idea to review some important details first.

An article in Employee Benefit News lists seven questions you should ask first to help evaluate your company’s readiness:

1. Do your leaders demonstrate well-being?

It’s important that leadership promotes the importance of well-being programs by participating and modeling good wellness behaviors. Some examples for company executives include:

  • Share a video about your CEO’s sincere commitment to employee well-being
  • Model positive behavior through everyday actions – like taking lunch breaks and vacations, scheduling walking meetings and setting tech boundaries
  • Reinforce the importance of well-being in all written and verbal communications                               

2. Do managers give their teams the time and space for self-care?

Managers are some of the leading drivers of an employer’s support network, according to research. However, there can be challenges in engagement between managers and workers. These simple tips can help improve a two-way wellness dialogue: 

  • Ask employees, “How are you?” Talk with them about well-being and how to overcome hurdles
  • Be a role model for well-being improvement by taking daily stress breaks, setting personal goals and sharing your progress
  • Send frequent messages of support and encouragement (like thank you cards or recognition during team meetings
  • Across the organization, motivate workers to schedule “micro-motion breaks,” engaging everyone to get up and move 1-2 minutes every hour                                                                                           

3. Are teams and peers empowered to cheer each other on?

Another key ally in engaging employee wellness is utilizing peer support. Teammates are valuable resources — and “cheerleaders” — for well-being support. Utilize technology and social networks to give workers tools to make connecting easier.

4. Does the physical space support or prevent healthy habits? 

A number of small steps can be taken to make sure a workspace is conductive to a stronger culture of well-being. A few steps employers can take include: 

  • Post motivational reminders in common areas to encourage healthy activities
  • Assess the level of focused work people can do in their areas — is it too loud? Is there too much foot traffic?
  • Provide on-site resources for well-being improvement (things like natural light, healthy snack options and common rooms)                                                                                                                              

5. Is there a clear establishment of the impact wellness has on the business?

Sometimes it might not be easily visible, but a staff focused on its well-being is good for the business’ bottom line. Organizations that show a direct connection between their business strategy, people strategy and wellness initiatives will be the most likely to succeed on all fronts. Align wellness program designs and initiatives to specific business strategies, and give explicit reasons on why improving well-being matters to the organization.

6. Are you investing in tools and programs that promote well-being?

How employers approach well-being programs, from the activity tools to the platforms used, send a specific message to employees on how wellness will be approached. Building wellness programs that easily integrate current HR initiatives will guarantee that the well-being programs are invested properly.

7. Does the organization’s culture reinforce the well-being message?

A company’s culture is pivotal in boosting employee engagement in wellness programs. Without a positive message and a culture of inclusion, wellness programs won’t survive. It’s highly recommended that companies conduct an audit to understand how ready their organization is to support well-being. 

Topics: Worksite Wellness, Company Culture